Hello, I'm new! The old religious habits won't go away...

Hey everyone! I, of course, am new to this site and thrilled to be here. I've already looked through a bunch of the discussion topics and posted a couple blog entries. It's very exciting and freeing to know that everyone here is a rational thinker!

I'm an ex-Christian. I was raised in Evangelical Free churches and did not even know that many Christians don't take the Bible literally until I attended a Catholic high school. Yup, that's right, high school. I believed in the creation story of Adam and Eve until I was fifteen. That's pretty embarassing, though I remember even from a young age I was very confused by the fact that that story didn't match with what I knew about dinosaurs, so at least my brain made a feeble attempt at trying to make sense of it all. I didn't really start to doubt my belief until college, and by the end of college I considered myself truly an atheist.

I love living free of religious constraints that make no logical sense, but oddly enough, I struggle with breaking myself of old religious rituals. Does anyone else have this problem? Sometimes when I am very stressed and panicking, I find myself pleading with a god that I don't believe in- it's a habit that I can't seem to break. I am fully aware that no one is listening, and I'm quite happy with that fact, but old habits die hard, I guess. I also sometimes can't seem to shake the feeling that everything I do is being monitored and recorded for godly purposes by some donut eating god security guard. That just might be my paranoia, though, or my exhibitionist tendencies :). Any advice?

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Thanks, I'll definitely check out that group!
We discuss a lot of that from a slightly different angle in Atheist Pagans as well. That it's quite possible to have a reverence for nature and appreciation of ancient/historical/aboriginal/or just plain fun ceremonies, rituals and holidays. All while being fully aware that the ritual is working on a psychological level, not a literally divine one.

We are social animals and our brains appear hard-wired and/or evolved to look for pattern, rhyme, rhythm, familiar shapes, comforting smells and sounds. So many Theists (and Pagans and New Agers are especially guilty of this) seem to think that understanding the psychology or science behind something takes away from it's beauty and power.

For me, it's just the opposite. I get so much more out of my chosen rituals now that I know I'm in complete control of them and what I'm really empowering is myself. I see it as the difference between kneeling before a god to ask for what you want, and standing with (in?) the universe to work for what you need.

Welcome to the Nexus!
Thanks for the welcome! I like your approach to the rituals and the new meaning they take on as an atheist and I've tried to look at my own in the same way. I guess I'll just keep working on it :)
Rituals are not bad, in and of themselves. They carry a sense of history and connect us with our pasts.

I'm an atheist, and anti-religious, but I still celebrate traditional xtian holidays. Because they are part of my heritage and culture.
Yeah, I agree. I will (and have already) continue to celebrate Christmas, at least, because it is also a part of my personal history. Even though I obviously don't celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday (not that many Christians do anyway ;) ), I still enjoy the excitement and generosity that are a part of the holiday season.
Thanks for the advice and the welcome :) ! You're right, I am being a bit impatient with myself. I've considered myself an atheist for (I think) three years now, and I was on the fence for two-ish years before that, so I feel like I've been an atheist forever. I forget sometimes that I was indoctrinated as a Christian for 19 years, so I have about four times as much as experience being a Christian than I do as an atheist. I guess I'll just take things slowly and not be so hard on myself when the old rituals pop up.
We all question ourselves it's just that you've been taught to consider interdiction by a non-existant being. Re-inforced behaviour patterns but as long as you understand it as personal questioning surely then the answers lie within yourself. You're young enough you'll grow out of it, and i say that tongue in cheek. You'll know about Pavlov so don't worry about the conditioned reflexes, they leave you after you assert your own thoughts and behaviour patterns.

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